Council accountant: financial predictions difficult

August 08 2020
Council accountant: financial predictions difficult

Filton Town Council's accountant has said it will be difficult to predict the authority's financial situation for the next year.

Derek Kemp told a meeting of the council's finance committee that although losses this year of £46,800 were not as bad as first feared, cash reserves have dwindled to just £44,000.
When pressed by councillors, Mr Kemp said he could not make predictions for the coming year.
He added that it appeared the lockdown meant costs were lower than normal due to the majority of staff being on furlough.
Asked by Cllr Chris Wood the reasons for this, Mr Kemp said: "The pool costs you money to run and we have to fund this from the precept. A lot of expenses have dropped, especially staff costs which always outweigh income generated from the pool."
He also said that rebates given to households for council tax due to Covid problems would likely have an effect on income next year.
In February, residents were landed with a 35 per cent hike in Filton Town Council’s share of the council tax, a rise of more than £80 per year to £315.
The biggest element of Filton's precept went towards propping up the leisure centre and pool. 
Councillors are currently engaging with a consultant to investigate ways of keeping the leisure centre sustainable.
Councillors also debated the opening hours for the council-owned Ratepayers pub, with some calling for opening hours to be more in line with other pubs.
Town clerk Lesley Reuben said the opening hours initially involved a skeleton staff but that the arrangements would be reviewed.
Currently drinkers sit in the badminton hall to ensure social distancing.
Cllr Wood said he wanted to see a breakdown of wider staffing costs for the Ratepayers in order to assess how financially viable it was.
Cllr Andy Robinson said:"If we’re not making a profit we shouldn’t be opening up."
But Cllr Adam Monk said it could be an opportunity to open up the pub to'new clientele'.